GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Matthew 13-14
Today is so action packed, yet again! Y’all, I’m about exhausted just reading about all that Messiah did in these few chapters that we’ve covered. I feel like I need to sleep in just to recover from reading it! Can you imagine what it was like following Him around and seeing this? I imagine the Pharisees were the most exhausted of all because everything they saw that proved He was the Messiah required greater and greater still effort to twist it around in their mind in order to come up with a way that proved He wasn’t!
Life tip: The sooner we submit to the Father the better off we are. His ways will ALWAYS be greater than our own.
Messiah begins with several parables today and He clearly explains why He is speaking in parables.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them. Matthew 13:13-15
*In italics, Messiah is quoting from Isaiah 6:9-10
Did you catch that? The people have willfully closed their eyes and ears because they do not want to hear or see the truth. They are living comfortable with their own lives and don’t want their boat rocked, they don’t want their situation changed, they have no desire to follow after Him.
Messiah knew this, He recognized that this was the behavior of most of the people He would encounter and so He spoke in parables so that those who were seeking would know but those who were not would remain in their ignorance unless they willfully opened their eyes to see the truth.
But back to this part “seeing they do not see”. How many of us grew up in the church and heard preaching from the pulpit all of our lives but are just now seeing things that have been there all along for the first time? Spiritually, we all begin on milk and most never move past that stage. Milk is comfortable, it is easy to digest, it requires no cutting, preparing, or chewing on our part. In walks Messiah with a big platter of steak and He looks around and knows that most cannot partake of it because they prefer milk.
Bonus Assignment: Read the parable of the sower and seed if you can identify at least two different soils you have been at different stages in your life.
Weeds or Wheat?
The Parable of the Weeds was a gut punch for me. Many people are under mercy now and living in the field among the wheat that Messiah plans on harvesting, thinking they will be part of the harvest, but they have not actually gained their spot there. Time for a re-read of Matthew 7:23 We are all planted seeds in the Father’s field. As we mature we must choose to be weeds or wheat.
Matthew 13:35 is a quote from Psalm 78:2
I can’t even begin to tell you what all we are reading that is quoted from the OT because at least 66% of the NT is just quotes from the OT! Just remember that the texts Messiah and all of the Apostles were teaching from, reading aloud, and studying were what we consider the OT today. The NT did not exist at this time.
*Y’all know it kills me to reference the foundational Scriptures as “old” because that is so dismissive but sometimes I need a shorthand and y’all know what that means.
Notice at the end of all of these parables Messiah says “He who has ears, let Him hear.”
He who is willing to hear, who can accept the truth, who is seeking a life in YHWH rather than a life in the world, hear.
To those who won’t hear the truth, the truth is not given. Pearls before swine. (Matthew 7:6) Messiah did not come to convert the world, He came for His lost sheep, to rescue those who would sincerely follow Him away from the snare they’d wandered into of traditions of man. These traditions pulled them further away from the Father even though they had been taught they were bringing them closer.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46
Two things jumped out at me from these particular parables. People were willing to instantly give up all that they have in exchange for the kingdom of Heaven.
Often, we say that we will sacrifice anything in order to follow the Father but when faced with an opportunity to make even a small sacrifice of our time, or to even alter a tiny detail in our lives that stands between us and obedience, our words prove hollow.
This happens when YHWH shows us in His word that we are to follow a commandment and our response is:
“Oh but He must not mean it that way.”
Or “That is for the Jews, that doesn’t apply to me.”
Or “Well the church doesn’t do that so it must not be in effect anymore.”
Or we see that something in our life dishonors Him, and the Word of YHWH gives us examples where we are to leave that behind and we respond with: “Oh but not that, He must mean that others are to give things up but I’m sure the way I do this is fine with Him.”
At the end of the day, Believers often say we would be willing to die for Messiah but then balk at the thought of being inconvenienced for Him.
Matthew 13:41 ->read this verse with the knowledge that the Greek word used for law-breakers is anomian. Remember we talked about nomians vs anomians the other day?
Matthew 13:52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Messiah tells this in conclusion to his prophets answering that they understand His teachings. What is He saying here? When a homeowner finds a new treasure, they don’t bring it home and throw away all of their old treasures. Instead, they put it on display or set it in a special place alongside their old treasures. These new treasures are the fulfillment of Messiah’s teachings alongside the teachings of YHWH.
Matthew 13:53-58 is a reminder that we will suffer deep and painful rejection by those whom we are closest to when we follow Messiah. Notice that He says a prophet is without honor in his hometown and also his own household. Messiah experienced rejection not only in the town he grew up in but also from his own family.
Most of my life, I never really understood this. It wasn’t until Ricky and I started reading the Bible for ourselves and began ordering our lives in line with YHWH’s word that I experienced this just as Messiah predicted.
You’ve heard of the right hand of fellowship? This is what is referred to as the “left foot of fellowship.” Just remember, people love their tradition, sometimes more than their family and even YHWH. Sometimes, all you have to do in order to offend someone is to not keep those same traditions in your life. Just doing things differently will offend some to the point that it will become an irreparable breach in their eyes and nothing you can do will repair it apart from turning from YHWH’s instructions. Take a deep breath and know this:
If there is ever a time that all you have is Him, that is enough.
To some, this won’t make any sense but it may in the future so store it up in your heart. To those who immediately related I want to reply “Yes, you’re not alone. I know. I get it. Messiah gets it, too.”
Matthew 14 Notes:
“At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.””
Matthew 14:1-2 ESV
Things here are given a little out of order. Even though we have not been told the details of John the Baptist’s death, when Herod “hears” about the fame of Jesus, John has already been killed. What we get in verses 3-12 is a flashback of sorts explaining the details of how he was killed. Some commentaries have mentioned that the fact that Herod immediately equates the actions of our Messiah as somehow being John the Baptist returned, is possibly a sign of terror-stricken conscience. (Given the circumstances surrounding John’s death, that is certainly plausible.)
We don’t get much detail here but it appears Yeshua mourned John’s death by withdrawing to a desolate place in a boat.
Matthew 14:14-21 I want to make a note with regards to feeding the 5000. Man did not know how to feed them but Messiah knew how to feed them to the point that they were satisfied and then some. Likewise, the world will never be able to make us whole or satisfy our hunger, only the Word of YHWH can do that. Take this a level deeper by realizing that Messiah is the Word made flesh. John 1:1
Random note: Matthew 14:19 shows Messiah praying with His eyes open. In most of Christianity, we have a tradition (which does not dishonor YHWH) of praying with our eyes closed. Messiah prays with His eyes open in this passage, Mark 6:41, Mark 7:34, Luke 9:16, John 11:41, and John 17:1. This is just for those of y’all who have ever been admonished to close your eyes when you were caught with them open. You were just being more like Messiah! ?
And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. Matthew 14:34-36.
The “fringe” being spoken of here, again, is Messiah’s tzitzit, which was first mentioned in Numbers 15:38; and Deuteronomy 22:12. We also read about it in Matthew 9. This is deeply moving for me to imagine. As I’ve mentioned before, this is what Ricky dubbed “The original ‘ What Would Jesus Do’ bracelet.” Instead of asking ourselves what would He do, we can read the word and see what He actually did – and then choose whether or not to follow His example. There is a lot of tradition surrounding these so I encourage you to check out what YHWH says and let His word have authority over everyone else’s.
Personal note you may or may not be interested in: Ricky and I wear tzitzit every day now. YHWH gave them to us for a purpose and they have proven to be very helpful in that purpose, just as He said they would. “How can I serve my King?” is a question I ask each day and wearing tzitzit is part of helping us do just that. If you wanna see our tzitzit, let me know. I have a video on how to make them, too. No pressure, just putting it out there for those interested.
Addendum: I found a gadget that makes tzitzit super easy to wear, especially great for those of us who don’t always have belt loops. Click here for that video.
Y’ALL! WE GET TO SERVE THE ONE TRUE GOD! THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB!
EMBOLDEN YOURSELVES FOR SERVICE TO THE GREAT AND MIGHTY KING!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!